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Hennops River Restoration and Clean Up Campaign - Day 6

Hennops River Restoration Campaign Day 6 by Willem Snyman

Hennops River Restoration and Clean Up Campaign - Day 6

‘The cleanup day in Duduza was a great success yesterday with almost a hundred metres on both sides of the bank cleaned up by a large group of enthusiastic volunteers. The spirit in this, one of the poorest informal communities is phenomenal, and the change even in such a small section is very noticeable. It was decided to continue the cleanup for another day here  to extend the clean up on both side and start restoring this section with trees and plants. The aim is to establish a people's park. It is in front of Petrus's house - the family who has the neatest garden in the community - so Petrus will oversee this park and manage it.

Green fingers can re-establish beauty and order in a small area as an example of what the whole stream bank could look like, namely a clean place to relax next to permanent fountain stream where kids can play in nature. These strong rivulets of the Witwatersrand fountains are amazing!  As a clear sign of hope I found a small river frog, a specie I've never seen before, in the middle of the trash. The community don't want to live in the midst of this chaos and filth and were complaining when interviewed afterwards by filmmaker Steve. Steve is documenting the dire health risks, people getting mysteriously ill, a body dumped in the trash recently and huge rats living in the piles of rubbish biting kids. Although denied by council, the cause of the problem here, as everywhere in this larger area, seems to be infrequent and non removal of trash which is then piled up in large heaps never to be removed again. We looked for and found numerous large sewerage leaks afterwards along the small stream going past Eco-City as it flows through the poorer areas of Ivory Park. Often there are areas where pipes are continually blocking and overflowing, associated with large piles of rubbish just left there permanently. The community is crying out for help and these grave health risks must be remedied.

Sewerage flows down the streets where children play, and runs into the small streams and stormwater pipes. It is as if this community has been forgotten. We appeal to the authorities to restore order and dignity to these people's lives. By involving and empowering the community these problems can be solved. Reilina had two good suggestions: Firstly to empower the councillors to report of sewerage leaks and spread the word to the larger community for early detection and reporting of blocked and overflowing mains. There was a huge leak in a street where a few of the councillors live. Secondly, to employ teams of ten or more local ladies in each community who can then help with the trash problem and keep each area clean. There needs to be a big operation first done to remove all the old piles of trash with a machine and load it onto trucks.  Once they start building up it looks like the piles are never removed, rubbish is then thrown into the streams. The area looks shocking in places, some of the dirtiest in the world. It won’t take huge amounts of money to fix this place, the poor have been forgotten and needn't live in this dangerous squalor.

Hennops River Restoration and Clean Up Campaign - a community ready to fight litter

We hope for an even larger turnout for today's cleanup, again along the Duduza stream.  Prepared with fruit and veg for the volunteers, we want to establish a beachead of beauty in this chaos as a beacon of hope for the resurrection of our freshwater environment and its power to uplift all of our lives. The whole country shares in this degradation as all the trash and filth is eventually washed downstream when flooding, clogging our river banks and contaminating freshwater with raw sewerage. Empowering these communities at source will save our rivers and heal the Hennops River.’ 

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